January 2010 Archives

We are fairly often asked about whether the Building Healthy Relationships class is appropriate as an intervention for persons who are involved in domestic or family violence in some way. This is a more complex question than first appears. The simple answer is yes, but...

Development of the Philosophy of Creative Conflict Resolution

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Almost all of the conflict resolution literature is about conflict between groups. This includes labor management issues, governmental issues, armed conflict, and war. Some material in the literature is about addressing marital conflict or other interpersonal issues between only two people. Most of this is about techniques for resolving conflict by improving communication skills. These include learning to use "I" statements, doing active listening, and taking "time outs" when the intensity of the conflict is too great.

These are all helpful tools and I support and teach them myself. But they are all geared toward working with the couple to teach them skills they can both use to address the mutual responsibility they have for the problems in the relationship. That is not the context in which I found myself working for much of my career as a psychotherapist.

Creating a "committed" relationship

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One frequent rough place in the development of an intimate relationship occurs when one party to the relationship wants to confirm that they have a "commitment" to each other or that they are truly "in a relationship." This is tough for a couple of really good reasons.

One reason is that this may be the first time that have actually talked about the relationship itself. It is one thing to be in relationship with another; it is another to make the relationship itself the focus of shared attention.